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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation September 20, 2019


Dear friends,
I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous day here in NYC and walk through Central Park so this week's Weekend Reading update will be a photo essay crafted on a bench in the park!
This article by Jill Filipovic in Politico Magazine offers some very good questions about the merits and enforcement of gender quotas in Rwanda, here is the conclusion:

What can Rwanda’s experiment with gender quotas teach the United States? It’s clear that quotas, if enforced, increase women’s political power at least to some degree, and the symbolic value of women in power can have trickle-down effects. While Americans might bristle at a constitutional mandate, political parties could adopt voluntary quotas, pledging that a certain percentage of the candidates they run will be women. That would be easier for Democrats than Republicans: There are twice as many female Democratic senators as Republican, and nearly seven times as many Democratic congresswomen as Republican. Still, neither party is at parity, let alone even approaching Rwanda’s numbers.

But quotas alone don’t bring equality into being. Once in office, women need to be able to legislate and set their priorities, not simply take orders from an executive or party leader. And to be effective advocates for women more generally, elected officials have to be accountable to robust civilian movements. “What Rwanda really shows is that for women’s empowerment to be meaningful, to be durable, to be impactful and felt in the lives of ordinary women, it has to be coupled with strong civil society organizations and a women’s movement that is able to hold the government accountable and operate in the space between the government and ordinary people,” Berry says.

Representation without true political freedom is a feminist farce, Rwigara believes. Until all of a country’s citizens can speak, organize and compete for power without fear, she says, “the percentage of women in Parliament is just a number.”

Jill Filipovic is a journalist and author of The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness.

The NYC campaign for Ranked Choice Voting launched this week with a press conference featuring a wide-array of civic and community representatives - it was great to have women's representation allies participate in the event including: Amanda O'Donnell from VoteRunLead, Sharon Nelson from Crewomen, Susannah Wellford from Running Start, and Courtney Lamendola from RepresentWomen. 
Here are a few sample infographics - look for more on the Rank The Vote NYC social media netowrks!
I was in Austin, TX this week for a gathering organized by Tuti Scott - interim chair of the Tides Foundation and Marianne Schnall of What Will It Take who has a new book out Leading the Way: Inspiring Words for Women on How to Live and Lead with Courage - congrats to Tuti and Marianne for a terrific event focused on gender-lens investing.
Leading a session on investing in women in politics
I had a great day on Wednesday with an amazing collection of women at the Time's Up event on pay equity!
Pictured here are Julia Frost from Arjuna Capital and Noreen Farrell from Equal Rights Advocates
Planning is underway for the Seneca Falls Revisited 2020 gathering! I met with Onida Coward Mayers, Sharon Nelson, and Katherine Pichardo-Erskine to discuss the event scheduled for July 23-26, 2020 in NYC.
Have a great weekend all,

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